Julius is one of the Masaai Lion Defenders working at “Zone F –Malinzanga”. He joined the project since 2013. He is a Maasai moran (warrior) and is married with one wife on February 2017. Julius finished his primary education and then joined Mlowa Secondary School for 4 years. Julius is coming from a large extended family of Mzee (elder) Maitei who had four wives and many children, including Julius. Like other Maasai living in the Ruaha landscape, Julius had never been to lion hunt but they used to set poison to the carcasses after lion attacks and also retaliated by tracking the lions after attacks, often with collaboration from the Barbaig warriors.
“When I heard first about RCP and the Lion Defenders program I was so excited but I had many concerns about whether the project will reach its goal because of the nature of people they targeted to work with (pastoralists). Since then the project had announced to recruit the Maasai and Barbaig warriors for the aim of working to protect and reduce the human carnivore conflict. I went to the interview and I was selected to start a two week trial. It was not good news to my family because they were against the carnivore as they were causing more problems day to day. My tribe has a strong unity and they normally keep secrets that are never revealed to anyone from non-Maasai tribes or authorities. They used to poison the carcases to kill lions but I normally go later and bury or burn the poisoned carcass and report to RCP management. Then it is important to find who did it and conduct education about conservation and why we are conserving wildlife.”
“It is very difficult for uneducated people to understand the importance of lions until they see direct benefits like the way RCP is doing,” according to Julius. “Before it was very difficult to tell my community the importance of lions in our village land but now we are confident to stand in front of community meetings because RCP is providing vet medicines, clinic medicines, Simba Scholarship, wire bomas, and school books to our kids from which all are linked to the presence of wildlife in a particular village around Idodi and Pawaga devisions. This helps them to see a direct profit.”